HSC’s Dr. Kari Northeim and Parker County collaborators awarded SAMHSA grant for rural EMS training and education

September 28, 2023 • News

By Sally Crocker

Kari Northeim
Dr. Kari Northeim

Dr. Kari Northeim, School of Public Health assistant professor of population and community health at The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth, has been awarded the SAMHSA Rural EMS Training and Education grant in conjunction with HSC community partners, Parker County Hospital District and BEST EMS. BEST EMS is a physician-led medical control group that provides management and oversight to EMS systems.

On behalf of HSC, Dr. Northeim will serve as co-principal investigator designing and implementing education and training for this initiative.

This new grant addresses the unique challenges faced by EMS workers in rural areas. Through the program, the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration aims to develop the capacity of EMS staff to support residents in rural communities. SAMHSA recognizes the great need for emergency services in rural areas and the critical role EMS personnel serve across the country. The grant will provide for training EMS personnel on substance use disorders and trauma-informed, recovery-based care for people with co-occurring mental health conditions in emergency situations and, as appropriate, maintaining licenses and certifications relevant to serving in an EMS agency.

Key facets of this initiative will include training paramedics in critical incident stress management; specialized training for critical care paramedics, focused on substance abuse and mental health challenges; sponsoring local high school seniors for an EMT course, with emphasis on substance abuse education; online mental health training for emergency dispatchers; and community outreach and education centered around accidental poisonings and overdoses.

“This program is expected to make an impact on mental health and substance abuse services in rural communities,” Northeim said. “With our Parker County community partners, HSC is committed to designing and delivering education and training programs that underscore our commitment to building healthier communities through public health practice and service.”